The plot through season 2 of Saiunkoku Monotagari progressed at the same general pace as the first season, slowly, but deep and full of subtleties unnoticeable at first glance. These subtleties definitely increase this anime’s re-watch value. Furthermore, if you can be patient through some of the lower-tempo parts of the series, you are rewarded with a few intricately placed plot twists created by cunning characters and complimented by a thoroughly thought provoking dialogue. The story is filled with political ideals and connotations which invigorate the intellectual side of any human, which is a very big supplement to the characters and the dialogue. The politics are essentially the baseline of the entire plot.
The story itself brings a beautiful concept to a normal monotonous world. The morals of our Protagonist, Shurei Kou, extends and reaches out to all those who care for her. There are moments that will create a sudden sense of sorrow and empathy, as the story unfolds and the characters lives are at stake. Yet, there are moments that are warm and full of compassion that fill the heart with joy. There are plenty of comic reliefs to ease the tension, which is a nice change of pace at times. There is little real romance in this anime, and for the better. The series already has too much going on. If it added a large romance in the story then it would be far too slow to bear.
Sound & Animation
The music through most of the series was very tranquil and soothing, especially when Shurei plays the ehru. However, there were instances that called for a more suspensful impression, and it was achieved through a very foreboding musical background. It may require a very perceptive ear, but there is some sort of music playing softly in the background during almost every scene, creating whatever atmosphere it is intended to create, mysterious, menacing, ambient, romantic, etc.
The animation was fun to watch, but nothing super special. The romatic cloudy scenes where Ryuki is dreaming of Shurei, is obviously cliche. There were a few scenes filled with shadowing and excellent spacing of character to background that dazzled me, but those were few and far between. The colors used, and the contrast between color placement was very well chosen. The backgrounds, especially the sunsets in the mountainous areas were beautiful. Overall, the animation never seemed sub-par and was always pleasing to look at.
The characters were very well developed. The story showed the emotions of and resolve of many characters. Among them are, Shurei, Ryuki, Seiran, Shuei, Koyu, Eigetsu, and more. The story showed past trials, family issues, ambitions, regrets, etc. of many of the characters in the story, without overdoing any particular character. The dialogue and relationships between the characters are by far the best part of the anime.
For instance: Watching Seiran as he struggles with Shurei's dangerous habits, he pushes himself to be more responsible for his own duties, with that he finds himself using his wits to find a way to keep Shurei safe, as he is unable to.
Or Eigetsu, as he struggles with his ambitions trying to make the most of the life that he has been given.
Even Shuei, whose family is forcing him to make a difficult decision which cannot be stated here to keep from spoiling it, but he fights with himself and the anime shows his past and what keeps him moving foward to make his ultimate decision.
There are many more situations where the person viewing this anime will gradually come to genuinely feel for the characters' sorrows, joys, misunderstandings, and best of all, embarrassments.
Overall, I give this anime an 8.5. It's deep, inspirational, political, and hearwarming story combined with excellent character development, ongoing atmospheric sounds, and wonderfully pleasing soft animation is a must see for anyone who doesn't mind a deep and intellectually political anime that has a good old fashion moral.
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